Another experiment in my never-ending quest in how far can I take it without failing miserably. A citytrip to lovely Dusseldorf. And as with a lot of citytrips over the years , another marathon. My third Dusseldorf marathon. Preparations were not ideal. I could not escape the flu and I hurt my left leg during a random walking down the stairs, resulting in a bruised left calf. Hopefully I recovered just enough.
Combined with the anticipation of a long travel and hustle and bustle of a big city I was pretty nervous. But we were prepared, planned a full day for both the journeys , Saturdays an empty day , so staying sharp en fit for the marathon should be doable.
the outward journey didn’t go with the fast ICE due to maintenance , so we went with the regular train services. First off to Venlo, then a simple stop at every stop you can find train towards Dusseldorf. The trip went well and we arrived at noon. Luckily the room was ready and we just took it easy the rest of the afternoon.
We went for a walk and a lunch in the city , got my racing number and just walked around a bit. We ended up passing a truly giant supermarket just around the corner from our hotel. Got some breakfast stuff once we found it and took a break at the hotel. Late in the afternoon we went to our favorite Burger restaurant in Medienhafen.
Saturday morning after breakfast we went to Niederkassel for some relaxing and to visit the Japanese garden. Unfortunately it openend hours later so we went on a walk around the neighborhood. With a bit of coffee and cake on the way. A very beautiful place too live indeed. Lot’s of green , parks and cool houses. And very close to the city centre. Happy few only I’m afraid. After the nice walk we went back towards the city, grabbing lunch at our favorite breakfast lunch spot. It’s still there !
Back to the hotel after getting some supplies from the mega Edeka. Taking the afternoon to catch some sleep and make sure I get enough rest. Even dinner at the hotel with fresh salads bread and deserts and getting a nice early rest. Tomorrow is marathon day !
Sunday morning, marathon d-day, nerves are definitely at their post. Early breakfast and preparation time. Main question of the day is , do I have enough endurance to get to the finish line without breaking down at some point. Only one way to find out.
We walk towards the start , which is at 9:00 in the morning, via Altstadt where the last remaining people are kindly swept out of the bars. There was a bit of a celebration in the city due to the promotion of Fortuna Dusseldorf on Saturday.
This being a relatively small marathon, about 4000 runners, there is plenty of space to do a nice warm up at the start and my girlfriend is able to be at the starting grid. I did a few test sprints to see how well my left leg felt. It felt good which added to the confidence a bit
About 10 minutes before the start I get in my starting position and it starts to rain a bit. Because of the course spectators can actually see the runners a lot , the course returns in a small part of town a couple of times so they can easily walk and be on time at different points in the race. Fun and good for moral.
Een 10 minuten voor de start zoek ik mijn startvak op en begint het wat te regenen. Mijn vriendin kan gezellig naast het vak staan en gaat even later naar het eerste punt, door de opzet waarbij je steeds weer terugkomt in een klein deel van de stad is het ideaal voor toeschouwers en kunnen ze de lopers vaak voorbij zien komen. Leuk en goed voor de moraal.
It’s there start , and the running can begin, all nerves went away immediately , which always happens when I start running. I am in a group with pacers who have 3:14 as a goal. I know that is a bit of a stretch for me but for now the pace is good and being in a group provides some heat. Which is great because of the increasing rain. My liquid intake isn’t great apparently because I have to take 4 restroom breaks along the way. First 2 times I got back with the group but I gave up on that because it took too much of my energy.
I am in a good pace and feel good, I take a drink at every stop and some gels and bananas. While running thru Niederkassel and Oberkassel the rain really starts pouring and I am soaked and a bit cold. Mainly on the return trip over the bridge. I still maintain a nice pace, After 30 K my legs het heavy and I can’t keep the pace. Which is fine by me and I decide not too force anything and stay in one piece. Just maintaining pace as much as possible which works great. In my mind I reached the giant 40 K sticker on the road pretty fast and the sun has started drying me and warming me up. Which is nice. The final stretch downhill towards the finish line and I am there. As usual my muscles immediately stop working after crossing the finish line, which is always a bit of a strange feeling. As is the time my watch tells me 3:21:11, en new course record. For me that is. I am extremely pleased , not one moment of pain or troubles along the way. Race seemed over before I knew it. Another milestone , in experience and running.
After the finish we find each other again and go for a curryworst lunch. Getting some food in is always great. Afterwards we walk back to the hotel and the sun is still shining. At the end of the afternoon we go to Medienhafen and get a drink and some sunshine. It’s hot by now. We walk back to the hotel via an unknown part of the city which has nice shops and restaurants. A new discovery for future visits.
Dinner is at a Thai restaurant near the hotel and an early bed , travel time tomorrow. Weather the next day is bad , well luckily travel time which went well as well and we are back home in the afternoon.
This citytrip went well and has given me a lot of insight in how to plan a trip. Running a great marathon was a very nice bonus. This learning experience has given me a lot of hope in getting on with our main hobby. Traveling.